Complementary Pairings (Part 1)
Idealists & Rationals
By Dr. Lovegood
The most common type of pairing is the complementary type. Rationals and Idealists
complement each other as do Guardians and Artisans. We'll look first at Rationals with
Idealists and then Guardians with Artisans in the next article. Rationals and Idealists both live
in the world of what might be. They're more likely to look for solutions to problems in
how they think rather than what they do. Both are likely to enjoy long conversations about
ideas, although Rationals prefer logical ideas and Idealists prefer people-oriented ideas.
Rationals are drawn to Idealists because they are good sounding boards for the
Rational's ideas, and they readily express positive emotions. Idealists are drawn to
Rationals because they are able to understand the Idealist's ideas and have excellent
Jesse is a Rational Architect (INTP). He felt very awkward around women. He didn't
know what to talk about and didn't like small talk anyway. In college, he met Aria, an
Idealist Counselor (INFJ). He was amazed at how easy it was to talk to her. He didn't even
have to think about it. She loved listening to his ideas, commenting on them, adding to
them, and occasionally debating him on some of them. Love hit him like a thunderbolt.
Claudia is an Idealist Teacher (ENFJ) with very high expectations for love. She found
herself rejecting many different men because they didn't live up to her ideal of the perfect
soulmate. Then she met Jeff, a Rational Mastermind (INTJ). He loved listening to her dreams
and aspirations. She knew she could trust him not to tell anyone else her secrets.
Eventually, she did figure out he had flaws, but by that time, she was far gone.
Dr. Keirsey recommends Rational-Idealist pairings and suggests that the best
combinations would be the 'opposite,' that is, ENTJ with INFP, ENTP with INFJ, INTJ
with ENFP, and INTP with ENFJ. Each of these pairs has the 'N' in common, but nothing
else. Anecdotal evidence appears to support his suggestions. If the couple has too much
in common, they are likely to have some obvious weak areas. For example, a Rational
Inventor (ENTP) with an Idealist Champion (ENFP) have only one letter different. This
couple is likely to have lots of fun generating ideas and excitement but may have
difficulty actually bringing ideas to fruition. Also, it is likely that neither one
of them will be wild about housework or maintenance. Couples with a lot in common may
find it easier to communicate but may also find it more difficult to get everything done.